Since she was 3 years old, Amelia has exhibited an extraordinary connection to nature. Her mother, Robin Schwartz, has photographed the candid moments and compiled them in a book called Amelia and the Animals. Schwartz writes about the natural manner that her daughter displays around animals showing “enormous fortitude and ingenuity in relating to each individual animal with kindness and respect,” which instills a calming effect in each animal.
Her mother began to recognize Amelia’s deep bond with animals at 3 years old, when she noticed that their two Cornish Rex Cats would always fight to sit on Amelia’s lap and would often become jealous and territorial for the attention of their prized companion. At a young age she was strong and brave, never viewing her encounters as strange or unusual. Until recently, she took these opportunities for granted. “She didn’t realize how unusual her encounters were until everyone started to tell her how lucky she was to meet so many animals” writes her mother.
She’s getting older now and plans on one day becoming a primatologist who researches gibbons. In an interview with the New Yorker, a ten-year-old Amelia says, “I am an animal person. I cannot survive without animals, this is who I have always been.”
The line between human and animal is often unclear. What is it that entitles humans to separate ourselves from our surroundings? Through the innocence of this child, we are shown that animals are not only meant to coexist with humans, but perhaps to interact as equal partners.